Dragon Age Wiki
Dragon Age Wiki
For combat mechanics in other games, see Combat mechanics (Dragon Age II) and Combat mechanics (Inquisition).
See also: Combat, Spells (Origins), Talents (Origins), and Ability mechanics

Combat mechanics are the rules that govern combat. This article describes the combat mechanics of Dragon Age: Origins.

Armor[]

Armor reduces the physical damage received from a successful melee attack. It is determined by armor gear (helm, armor, gloves and boots) and shields.

Armor Penetration[]

The armor penetration of a weapon reduces the effectiveness of the armor of its target. For example, when a character uses a weapon with 5 armor penetration against an enemy with 10 armor the weapon deals damage as if the enemy had only 5 armor (10 armor - 5 armor penetration). Therefore, as long as the target is wearing armor, the armor penetration score is effectively equivalent to extra damage, although damage multipliers like critical hits do not multiply armor penetration. If the armor penetration score is greater than the target’s armor score, the excess armor penetration does not inflict damage.

For example, if an attacker uses a weapon with 3 armor penetration against a target with 10 armor, the attacks damage the target as if they had 7 armor. However, if the weapon has 12 armor penetration, it is as if the defender had 0 armor, not -2; the extra 2 points of armor penetration are not used in any way.

Armor penetration is capped at 41 points.

Armor penetration can be increased with Telekinetic Weapons, two-handed strength, stone aura + renewed assault, pulverizing blows + quake, aim + master archer, equipment and Cunning. Each point of cunning adds approximately 0.14 armor penetration, the exact formula is:

Bonus to AP = (Cunning - 10) / 7

Attack[]

The attack score is used to determine whether a physical attack hits an enemy. The attack score of a character depends on their class, strength, dexterity and attack bonuses or penalties. Each class has a base attack score: 50 for mages, 55 for rogues and 60 for warriors. Some equipment, skills, spells and talents apply bonuses or penalties to the attack score.

The attack score for melee attacks is:

Attack = Base attack + 0.5 * {(Strength - 10) + (Dexterity - 10)} + Attack bonuses or penalties

The attack score for ranged attacks is:

Attack = Base attack + (Dexterity - 10) + Attack bonuses or penalties

Chance of hitting[]

Example with 100 Attack
Defense Hit Probability
in %
50 100
75 79
100 54
125 29
150 4
154 0
200 0

The chance that a melee attack hits its target is determined by the attack score of the attacker and the defense score of the target. If the attack score of the attacker is the same as the defense score of the defender, the chance of hitting is 54%. Each point of attack increases this chance by 1%, and each point of defense decreases it by 1%.

Ranged attacks work in the same way, but the missile deflection score of the target is used instead of their defense score.

Attack Speed[]

Melee Attacks[]

The rate at which melee attacks are performed is determined by the weapon style used and the weapon itself. It can be increased with the spell Haste, the item Swift Salve, the Momentum Rune and several talents. It doesn't apply to activated talents.

The duration of physical attacks is calculated as follows:

Attack duration = (BaseTiming + Weapon speed modifier) * Character speed modifier

BaseTiming[]

The base timing depends on the style of fight used:

  • Dual Weapon (each weapon is used in turn): 1.5 s.
  • Weapon and Shield: 2.0 s.
  • Two-Handed: 2.5 s.

Weapon speed modifier[]

This modifier is determined by the type of weapon being used. The Speed Modifier of each weapon type is listed in the Weapons page.

When dual-wielding weapons the time it takes to perform each attack is the same for both weapons even if each weapon has a different speed modifier. When this happens the time it takes to perform each attack is calculated as the average of the time it takes to perform an attack for each weapon. For example, if you wield Starfang (attack modifier -0.1) and Rose's Thorn (attack modifier -0.5), you make an attack every [(1.5-0.1)+(1.5-0.5)]/2 = 1.2 seconds.

Character speed modifier[]

This modifier has a base value of 1 that can be modified by the following game elements:

Due to a bug the character speed modifier resets to 1 if it falls below 0.5 (e.g., by using Haste and Momentum at the same time). Combining Blessing of the Fade and Momentum triggers this bug for some people, but not for others.

Ranged Attacks[]

The duration of a ranged attack is the sum of base duration and aim delay.

Bows and Crossbows[]

The base duration (draw duration) of attacks with bows and crossbows is determined by the type of chest armor the character wears:

  • For party members, the base duration is 2 seconds if the character wears massive armor, or if they wear heavy armor and don't have Master Archer. It is 0.8s otherwise.
  • For NPC's, these values are increased to 2.5s and 1.5s, respectively. This duration is not affected by any attack speed modifier.

Base aim delay (aim loop duration) is 0.2 seconds for shortbows, 0.3 seconds for longbows, and 0.8 seconds for crossbows. This delay is modified by several abilities and the "Rapid aim" effect from equipment, but it cannot be reduced below 0. The offensive talents of the Archery group have a base aim delay of 1.5 seconds.

See also: Aim Speed Reference Sheet for details on items, talents and spells that modify the aim delay.

Staves[]

  • For staves, base duration is 0.3s, aim delay is 0.1s.
  • On average, each staff attack takes about 1.5s.

Backstab[]

Backstabs are a special type of melee attack that deals 50% extra damage. It is only available to rogues. Backstabs occur when all these conditions are met:

  • The attacker is a rogue.
  • The attacker is humanoid.
  • The attacker uses a melee weapon (or bare hand).
  • The attack is a basic attack and not an activated ability (e.g., one cannot backstab with Deadly Strike), unless the effect of the ability itself is a backstab, like Flicker.
  • The target is not immune to critical hits.
  • Dual Striking mode is not active.
  • The attacker is flanking the target, or the target is stunned or paralyzed and the attacker has Coup De Grace.

Comparison of backstabs and critical hits[]

  • Backstab and critical hits apply the same damage bonus, 50%. This bonus is increased by the "+X% backstab/critical damage" effect from equipment.
  • Critical hits can shatter frozen and petrified targets, backstabs can't.
  • The damage from critical hits cannot be increased using talents. The damage from backstabs can be increased by the talents Exploit Weakness and Shadow Striking. Lacerate is meant to enable backstabs to cause additional bleeding damage, but does not work due to a bug.

Notes[]

  • Backstabs can be performed with both the offhand and the main-hand weapon, but the animation shows only the main-hand attack. It seems, however, that elemental damage runes equipped on the offhand weapon are not counted towards damage in the backstab. Only the damage oriented runes in the main-hand weapon seem to work correctly. Whether this is a bug or not is unconfirmed.[confirmation needed]
  • Successive backstabs are possible. They are indicated by successive over-the-head/downward thrusts made by the main-hand weapon.
  • Unlike other games, in Dragon Age: Origins stealth doesn't have an influence on backstabs.

Stealth[]

Stealth is a talent available to Rogues that prevents others from seeing them. When not in combat rogues can use stealth at any time. In combat they can enter stealth if there is no perceivable enemy within 30 meters, or if they have Combat Stealth (the third rank in the Stealth tree) and the perception rank of all enemies within 30 meters is lower than their stealth rank. The perception rank of enemies is 1 for normal and weaker enemies, 2 for lieutenants, 3 for bosses, and 4 for elite bosses. If the rogue initiates combat while still stealthed, the first strike is an automatic critical hit or backstab. Stealthed rogues incur a -40% movement speed penalty.

When a rogue enters stealth their Threat is reset after a short delay. Breaking stealth too quickly prevents this reset.

Breaking Stealth[]

The following events break stealth:

  • Attacking an enemy.
  • Using any ability (including Stealing).
  • The presence of an enemy with a higher perception rank than the rogue's stealth rank within 30 meters.
  • Being affected by the effect root (Pinning Shot), knockdown, damage over time, daze (Disorient), stun, heavy impact (Mighty Blow), sleep, charm, fear, confusion, grabbed, overwhelmed, petrified (Cone of Cold, Petrify) or knockback.
  • With Combat Stealth (third rank in the Stealth tree) a rogue has a chance equal to their level to remain in stealth when they take non-physical damage. With Master Stealth (fourth rank in the Stealth tree) this chance is doubled.
  • With Stealthy Item Use (second rank in the Stealth tree) there is a 10% chance the rogue breaks stealth when they use an item (throwing bombs, setting traps, etc.).

Interacting with objects (disarming traps, opening doors, firing ballistae, etc.) does not break stealth.

Notes[]

  • BUG: Attacks out of stealth should always be critical hits or backstabs. However, when Dual Striking or Rapid Shot are active, attacks out of stealth that are natural critical hits become normal hits (instead of staying as critical hits).
  • Physical attacks often miss if the target enters stealth before the attack connects. The physical damage of the attack is negated, but all secondary effects (knockdown, stun, bleeding, etc.) are still applied.
  • Whether a rogue can enter stealth depends on what enemies they can see, rather than what enemies can see them. This means that if an enemy enters stealth (thus disappearing from the rogue's perception) the presence of this enemy doesn't affect the rogue's capability to enter stealth.
  • Awakening adds another ability that applies stealth, Decoy. The only sources of stealth in Origins are the talents in the Stealth tree, so many stealth checks specifically check whether those talents are active, rather than checking for the stealth effect itself. This means Decoy's special stealth are not affected by these rules. The article on Decoy has more details.

Damage[]

Weapon Damage[]

Damage caused by an attack with a Weapon is calculated as follows:

  • Normal Hit:
Damage = BaseWeaponDmg + AttributeBasedDmg + CharacterDmgBonus + OnHitDamage - ArmorDmgReduction
  • Backstab / Critical Hit:
Damage = CriticalDamageModifier * (BaseWeaponDmg + AttributeBasedDmg) + 
         CharacterDmgBonus + OnHitDmg - ArmorDmgReduction
Note: If the calculated Damage value is less than 1.0, it is set 1.0.

BaseWeaponDmg[]

The base weapon damage is listed on the Weapons page. The damage range listed there is multiplied by (0.9 + 0.1 * WeaponRank).

AttributeBasedDmg[]

One or two character attributes are used to determine AttributeBasedDmg (listed on the Weapons page). Each weapon type has an Attribute Modifier (listed on the Weapons page as well), which influences the Damage Bonus based on attributes.

  • One character attribute used:
AttributeBasedDmg = [Attribute Value - 10] *  
                    [Weapon Attribute Modifier] * [Weapon Style Modifier]
  • Two character attributes used:
AttributeBasedDmg = 0.5 * [Attribute Value1 + Value2 - 20] * 
                    [Weapon Attribute Modifier] * [Weapon Style Modifier]

Weapon Style Modifier:

  • Single Weapon / Sword and Shield / Two-Handed: range 50-75%, average 0.625
  • Dual Wielding: range 25%-50%, average 0.375 main hand; 0.125 off hand (full 0.375 multiplier with Dual-Weapon Training)

CharacterDmgBonus[]

This damage bonus is based on a special character property (Property 39, DamageBonus), modified by the following:

Critical Hit / Backstab[]

BaseWeaponDmg and AttributeBasedDmg damage is multiplied by a CriticalDamageModifier, which is calculated by the following formula:

CriticalDamageModifier = COMBAT_CRITICAL_DAMAGE_MODIFIER + PROPERTY_ATTRIBUTE_CRITICAL_RANGE / 100.0

COMBAT_CRITICAL_DAMAGE_MODIFIER is always 1.5, which means all weapons do 150% damage on a critical hit. This modifier can be increased by equipment that has the effect "+X% critical/backstab damage", which modifies the property Critical Range of the character. All of these bonuses from equipment are added up into PROPERTY_ATTRIBUTE_CRITICAL_RANGE, which is capped at 200. This means the maximum total CriticalDamageModifier that can be achieved on a character is 350%: 150% base and +200% from gear. When this is achieved, every critical hit or backstab from the character will deal 350% of the normal attack damage. So "+X% critical/backstab damage" actually means adding X% of the normal attack damage.

Note: Shadow Striking multiplies total backstab damage by 1.5 while Shadow Form is active, making it one of the most powerful abilities for backstabbers.

On-Hit Effects[]

When a weapon hits, a number of on-hit effects can be triggered: Damage from Runes, Damage from Enchantment Spells (Flaming Weapons, Frost Weapons) and Poisons, armor penalty, etc. These on-hit properties are not triggered when activated talents are used. As of Patch 1.04, when a Dual-Wielder back-stabs, Runes and other on-hit properties for the off-hand weapon are properly registering for each off-hand strike and the main-hand on-hit properties are no longer triggered for hits from both weapons.

ArmorDmgReduction[]

Armor can reduce damage dealt by melee weapons and ranged weapons (except for staves, which have special handling in the game engine). Other physical damage (e.g. from an explosion of Walking Bomb) is not reduced.

An effective armor value is determined for each hit:

ArmorDmgReduction = (0.7 + 0.3 * [random value between 0 and 1]) * [Armor Value of Target]
                      - [Armor Penetration of Attacker]

If ArmorDmgReduction is less than 0, it is set to 0. Thus, Armor Penetration can at most reduce the damage reduction effect of armor to 0, it cannot result in a damage bonus.

Elemental Damage[]

Any kind of Elemental Damage (cold, electricity, fire, nature, spirit), e.g. from Spells, Runes, Poisons, Bombs, and Staves dealing Elemental Damage, is modified as follows:

Damage = BaseValue * AttackerDamageModifier * TargetResistanceModifier
Note: Certain creatures are immune to some types of elemental damage.

AttackerDamageModifier[]

There is a separate modifier for each type of elemental damage. This modifier is normally 1.0. It can be increased up to a cap of 1.3 with items that have a +X% {cold/electricity/fire/nature/spirit} damage property, e.g. Spirit Hands and Elementalist's Grasp.

Note: In Dragon Age: Origins - Awakening, +X% {cold/electricity/fire/nature/spirit} damage properties are not capped at +30%. The new cap is +50%.

TargetResistanceModifier[]

The target can have up to 75% elemental resistance (this would correspond to a TargetResistanceMultiplier of 0.25). Elemental resistance can be negative as well (due to the target having an elemental damage weakness or spells that lower resistance: Vulnerability Hex, Affliction Hex), adding an additional amount of damage. Negative resistance is capped at -100%.

Resistance % TargetResistanceModifier
-100 2.0
-50 1.5
0 1.0
25 0.75
50 0.5
75 0.25

Defense[]

Defense is a character’s ability to avoid attacks entirely. The score is a combination of the character’s base defense, which varies by class, plus the character’s dexterity modifier. Shields, talents, spells, skills, status effects, high-quality items, and the difficulty level can further alter this score. Note that while shields do contribute directly to defense, armor does not. Instead, armor mitigates damage received.

Defense = Base defense + (Dexterity - 10) + Defense bonuses

Base defense depends on class: It is 40 for mages, 45 for warriors and 50 for rogues.

Missile defense[]

Each character has a separate invisible score for defense against missile attacks from enemy archers, letting a character shrug off ranged attacks. Shields contribute more to missile defense than they do to regular defense, and some spells or talents increase a character’s missile defense directly.

Dodging[]

Dodge is a creature property (property 16, Displacement), with value range from 0.0 to 100.0. This is essentially the chance for a creature to completely evade a physical attack (before defense is factored in). This property is handled in the function that calculates attack roll, which means any attack that does not require an attack roll will ignore dodging (e.g., Ogre's Ram, Golem's Slam). Attacks that do perform an attack roll, but cannot miss, such as Scattershot, also cannot be dodged, as the miss will be converted into a hit before impact application.

When a dodge occurs, there is a chance for an animation to accompany the dodge. The character either sways their body backward, or deflects the attack with their weapon. If the character has Evasion, the dodge animations are forced to play more frequently. With Evasion, the animations will play during the "Wait" command, or the "Attack" (basic attack) command, or when the command is invalid. If the character is in the middle of performing a basic attack, this attack will be interrupted if the dodge animations are triggered.

Displacement is modified by a number of abilities (Fade Shroud, Dark Passage), as well as the "+X% chance to dodge attacks" effect from equipment (Cailan's Greaves, Cinch of Skillful Maneuvering). It is possible to achieve 100% Displacement by combining a number of these sources.

Freezing[]

Certain spells, namely Winter's Grasp, Cone of Cold, Blizzard, and Hand of Winter can temporarily incapacitate a target if effective.

Resistance check
Freezing is resisted by a successful physical resistance check vs. the caster's spellpower.
Duration
Freeze duration is determined by the base freeze duration modified by target rank.

Elemental Immunity[]

Some monsters are completely immune to certain damage types. This immunity can not be bypassed with Vulnerability Hexes.

Elemental Resistance[]

Elemental resistance determines the character's ability to withstand various elemental effects, specifically primal magic (fire, ice, electricity, nature, spirit). A high elemental resistance (fire, ice, electricity, nature, spirit resistance) allows a character to limit the damage of the elemental attack.

  • Examples include: Withstanding Flame Blast, Winter's Grasp, Stonefist, Shock, etc.

Health[]

Health is the amount of total damage a character/enemy can take before falling unconscious. The red meter outlining the left side of the character portrait tracks this statistic (percentage left vs. total). Health is increased by constitution, 5 health points per 1 level constitution.

Knockdown[]

A common combat effect that incapacitates a target for a short duration.

Stun[]

A common combat effect that incapacitates a target for a short duration.

  • Stun effect applies a temporary -1000 dexterity debuff (source: effect_stun_h.nss).
  • Mind Blast is the only spell that stuns, and it does not allow a resistance check (though it can be resisted by spell resistance).
  • Whenever a creature is stunned, all incoming stuns applied on this creature within the next 15 seconds have their duration reduced to 25%.
  • An attacker who has Coup De Grace can score automatic backstabs on a stunned target, without need of flanking, provided all other conditions for backstabs hold true.
  • Indomitable and Beyond the Veil provide complete immunity against stun.
  • Stun (together with knockdown, slip, and paralyze) can interrupt a Grab attack if applied successfully, regardless of whether the target is immune to stun or not.
  • All creatures categorized as "demons" (Fade creatures), except Abominations, are immune to stun.

Mental Resistance[]

See also § Resistance Checks and Talents and Spells that check against Mental Resistance

Mental Resistance determines the character's ability to withstand various special effects, specifically combat (Bard songs) or magic effects which affect the mind of the character. A high mental resistance allows a character to either completely shrug off the effect, or take a limited negative buff instead. Mental Resistance is different from § Spell Resistance.

  • Examples include: Withstanding Captivating Song, Blood Control, Horror, etc.

Movement Speed[]

The speed at which a creature is able to move. Haste increases movement speed by 30%. Swift salve increases movement speed by 20%.

Physical Resistance[]

See also § Resistance Checks and Talents and Spells that check against Physical Resistance

Physical Resistance determines the character's ability to withstand various special effects, specifically combat or magic effects which affect the body of the character. A high physical resistance allows a character to either completely shrug off the effect, or take a limited negative buff instead.

  • Examples include: Withstanding Knockdown, Earthquake, Paralyze.

Regeneration[]

Stamina and mana regenerate at different rates depending on attributes and whether the creature is engaged in combat. Refer to Regeneration article for additional information.

Resistance Checks[]

See also Resistances

Physical and mental combat effects have a chance to be resisted by a target as modified by various factors.


Pseudocode - Resistance Check

ResistanceChance = [Target Resistance Score] - ([Caster Attacking Attribute] - 10) + 
                   (([Target level] - [Caster Level]) * 5) + [Target Rank Bonus]

If ResistanceChance >= [Target Maximum Resistance Chance]
    ResistanceChance = [Target Maximum Resistance Chance]

CheckSuccess = (0.0 <= [Random Decimal Value] < 100.0) <= ResistanceChance


Creature Resistance Table[]

Creature Rank Resistance
Bonus
Maximum
Resistance
Chance
Player 0 75%
Critter 0 0
Normal 0 50%
Lieutenant 10 75%
Boss 20 100%
Elite Boss 30 100%
  • Table is based on data from 2da "autoscale"


Shattering[]

When frozen or petrified by a spell, a target can possibly be shattered by a critical hit (or by the effect of specific other spells), effectively killing it instantly.


Pseudocode - Shatter Check

If [Target] is not a Boss or Plot Character and (not a Party Member unless (Difficulty >= Hard))
    If [Target] is a Special Rank
        If Difficulty = Easy
            ShatterChance = 0.3
        ElseIf Difficulty = Normal
            ShatterChance = 0.2
        ElseIf Difficulty = Hard
            ShatterChance = 0.1
        ElseIf Difficulty = Nightmare
            ShatterChance = 0.05
    Else
        ShatterChance = 1.0

Effect Duration Modifiers[]

The duration of a temporary hostile status effect may be modified by party size and target rank. Most hostile effects from standard talents and spells are affected by these factors.

Party Size[]

If the target is not a party member, a hostile effect applied on the target is increased by 1 second for every missing party member.

The reasoning behind this is that there are sequences in the game in which the player character has to progress without a full party, even alone. Some characters depend more heavily on temporary status effects than others, depending on their class and ability selection.

Target Rank[]

After party size modifier has been factored in, the effect's duration is further modified by the rank of the target, becoming shorter against target of a higher rank.

The following table includes data for the duration of effects based on creature rank and game difficulty.

Creature Rank Easy Normal Hard Nightmare
Player 50% 80% 100% 110%
Critter 200% 150% 120% 110%
Normal 120% 100% 100% 100%
Lieutenant 100% 75% 75% 60%
Boss 80% 60% 40% 35%
Elite Boss 50% 25% 20% 20%
  • Table is based on data from 2da "autoscale"

Stun[]

The stun effect, in particular, receives another modifier. After a creature is stunned, all incoming stuns applied to that creature within the next 15 seconds have their duration reduced to 25%. This modifier is applied last, separately from party size and target rank, and is always in effect, unlike the latter two.

Spell Resistance[]

See also Resistances

Spell Resistance determines the percentage chance to completely ignore a hostile magical spell attack. Non-spell elemental attacks ignore this attribute as they are not spells. Spells cast by party members (i.e. friendly fire) are not normally affected by Spell Resistance.

In nightmare mode, mobs have a base spell resistance of 5%. In easy mode, -10%.

Threat[]

See also Threat

Threat determines how enemies attack your party, and it is critical to take this into account when determining combat strategy.